Earlier this morning, commenter IceManCometh posted a fanshot stating that Antonio Meeking was called-up to the Celtics, but immediately, my inbox was flooded with people off the record letting me know that it must be some kind of April Fool's joke. Regardless, I have a lot of time on my hands, so I decided to keep looking into it.
Turns out, after confirming with Meeking's agent, Ara Vartanian (one of his clients once turned down the Minot SkyRocket's) that Meeking is going nowhere this season - he's currently coming off the bench in the D-League. He did give me a little tip though, telling me that Boston was looking at the Albuquerque Thunderbird's roster, just not at his guy.
After confirming the Celtics wouldn't add another drama-filled point guard in Will Conroy and Brad Stricker's reverse lay-up's are no longer NBA material, it came down to Jasper Johnson. Johnson, if you'll remember, was number two in their call-up rankings. Turns out, I was wrong on the big lefty; Dime was right.
I met with Albuquerque's coach, little John Coffino, straight out the bronx, at Day's Inn the other night when they passed through town. We talked for about two hours after a big Albuquerque victory, discussing quite a few things, and he told me "Just let me know if you need any inside information. I'll hook you up."
I shot him an email asking if Vartanian was telling me the truth and what not, and Coffino shot back, "Big J is on his way!!!" Jasper Johnson is apparently on his way to the NBA Champion Boston Celtics.
While I've never been a fan of Jasper, he did mildly impress me in Dakota, at least as much as a 6'7", 300+ pound combo forward is able. He played at the top of the key in the randomness that is a 3-2 zone, showing that he can eat up tons of space. On offense, he showed a dribble-drive stepback and finished with a near triple-double: 20 points, 10 boards and nine assists, shooting 8-of-13 from the field.
I called Coach Coffino to see what he thought of the whole thing (interesting tidbit: they were eating at Khalid El-Amin's Fish House in downtown Minneapolis) to see what he thought of the deal. He said what I assumed he would, using typical coach speak:
Jasper's a heck of a player. If you look at him, you'd think he's been eating free here at the buffet for far too long, but really, he will be able to play a valauble part for the Celtics. He's basically a taller, heavier Eddie House mixed with a wider, much worse on defense James Posey. The C's won a championship with those two last season, and now with Big J, I assume they'll one for the thumb.. of their toe.
While I don't think Jasper's going to get that much burn in the playoff's, he will be able to eat up some fouls at least as quick as Mikki Moore does. He also brings an effective 3-point shot when he makes his way to the perimeter. The thing I like most about him, though, is that he wasn't afraid to walk around the Day's Inn at 2 am with a wifebeater and shorts during the worst blizzard of the season. He's fearless - he didn't even seem nervous I was posting this about him as an April Fool's Day joke.